Friday, September 5, 2014

Scrappy Spectrum Swoon

Warning: This is my first quilting tutorial. 

Ever since I first discovered Camille Roskelley's Swoon pattern, I thought it would be fun to do a scrappy version. But it was overwhelming enough to just finish one basic swoon quilt  block, so the thought of drafting a scrappy version was intimidating. But since this was on my quilty bucket list and I was between quilt tops, I gave it a shot. Feel free to make corrections or change it to make it your own.

First, I used Corey Yoder's Quilty Stitches cross stitch sketch (I'm still working on getting the cross-stitch blocks done...another quilty bucket list item) as the basic grid for my scrappy swoon. You'll need the original Thimbleblossoms pattern to reference. You'll also need some colored pencils (trust me, don't use markers like I did the first time around).

For this scrappy swoon, you'll need to construct an inside and an outside "star".

(Outside star)

To make this quilt, I needed to pick 8 colors. They didn't have to be a rainbow, but they needed to blend well. You could pick a range of different hues of 4 colors, but they should blend well. Did you get the part where they blend well? Once I had my colors picked out, here's how I figured out what goes where. 

Disclaimer: feel free to try it your own way. This is what worked for my non-spatial, non-math mind. 

I divided my outside star into 8 sections. I found that I had a main section and a "blade" in each color. My sections, starting from the top and moving counter-clockwise (I'm left-handed, so everything is always backwards in my world), you have Pink, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Aqua, Navy, and Purple. I matched up the inside star points with the outside star blades. Like this:

Then I filled in the inside star. I wasn't too picky about exact placement, just that I had roughly the same number of squares from each color.

Once that was done, it was pretty easy to build the outside star. Also, I used grey to differentiate the background from the blocks (Don't you love my uber-professional coloring job? My seven-year-old said she'd redo it for me, but I like to keep things real).

Once that was done, I just added everything up and cut it up. One quick tip for cutting, don't worry about all the colors being exact. My greens ranged from light green to lime to kelly green. The same goes for every section. It blends better if you have a range from each section. I'm a firm believer in using what you've got. For me, the point of scrap quilts is to use up scraps! 

Here are the cutting instructions: 

Pink: (38) 1.5" squares, (6) 2" squares, (3) 2.5" triangles*
Red: (34) 1.5" squares, (5) 2" squares, (3) 2.5" triangles
Orange: (38) 1.5" squares, (6) 2" squares, (3) 2.5" triangles
Yellow: (34) 1.5" squares, (5) 2" squares, (3) 2.5" triangles
Green: (38) 1.5" squares, (6) 2" squares, (3) 2.5" triangles
Aqua: (34) 1.5" squares, (5) 2" squares, (3) 2.5" triangles
Navy: (38) 1.5" squares, (6) 2" squares, (3) 2.5" triangles
Purple: (34) 1.5" squares, (5) 2" squares, (3) 2.5" triangles

* Usually, I use the standard method of making HST. However, you need 12 triangles that are all scrappy and need to be made individually. I know it's a pain, but this isn't a fast block to put together. 

Background fabric: 

(12) 3.5" squares
(84) 1.5" squares
(54) 2" squares
(3) 2.5" x Width of Fabric strips

HST Construction:

To make my color/background HST, I use the basic method. Sew Many Ways has a great tutorial for it.  I drew my diagonal line on the background fabric and chain pieced those babies while binge-watching some "North and South". One big tip about working with blocks this small- PRESS ALL SEAMS OPEN. I promise, it will save your sanity.  Once I had all my color/background HST ready to go,  I squared them up to 1.5". I know, you hate me. But the end product is worth it.

Alternate HST Construction:

There are 12 HST in this block/quilt/mini that are a combination of two colors, instead of color/background. For these, I pieced the 2.5" triangles together in the following combinations: Red/Orange, Yellow/Green, Aqua/Navy, and Pink/Purple. Sew carefully because you're dealing with a bias. I pressed my seams open and squared them up to 1.5". 

Once I had all my squares, HST, and background cut out, I sorted out the squares in each color in order from light to dark. For example, with the green I started with the light green, then lime, and finally the kelly greens. When I built my block, I tried to make sure I had a range of each color in both the inside star and the outside star. 

Sewing the Squares Together:

For me, this was the crazy-making part, which explains why it sat on my design wall for a week before I even attempted piecing it all together. I was so worried about mixing up my squares and getting my order messed up, I almost numbered each square. But I decided to piece them together in a nine-patch and then piece those together. It worked. I sewed my rows and left them connected to keep track of everything. 

Once my nine-patches were all sewn together and pressed (seams open), i put them back on my design wall to make sure I was sewing them in the right order. I pulled them down row by row and sewed them all together. Then I sewed the rows together into one big, giant, scrappy swoon block.

I decided to add an outer border, just because I liked the look of the block framed by the background. Feel free to leave this step out if you don't want the outside border. I added top and bottom borders and then side borders. I'm sure some master quilter out there is cursing me because they do it the opposite way, but I wanted a finished mini quilt, not a perfect one.

My top and bottom border measures 25.5" and my side borders measured 30". Don't stress if your block doesn't measure exactly the same as mine. Just make sure it's square. 

I finished this quilt by making the quilt sandwich and quilting it with vertical straight  organic lines, 1/2" apart. I polled my instagram friends and loved the suggestions of a fairly neutral grey binding. So, here is my finished Scrappy Spectrum Swoon, 30"x30".

I'd love to see your version! If you post a picture of instagram, tag me (@purplepoppyquilts) and use the hashtag #swoonallthethings. 

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